Monday, 26 January 2015

The Cuban Diet: eat less, exercise more and preventable deaths are halved


In the early 1990s Cuba was plunged into crisis as a result of the US trade embargo and withdrawal of support following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Food and fuel were in short supply. Millions went hungry. Cars and buses virtually disappeared as fuel supplies dried up. Farmers had to abandon their machines and work the fields manually. The Government issued one million bicycles to keep the population on the move.

Between 1990 and 1995 the average Cuban consumed fewer calories than they expended, leading to an average weight loss of 5kg. They also exercised more.

Deaths from diabetes began to fall in 1996 and dropped to half the levels experienced in the 1980s. Deaths from heart disease and stroke reduced by a third.

By the late 1990s Cuba was beginning to recover. As the economy grew, so did waistlines. Levels of physical activity fell. By the mid-2000s the prevalence of diabetes, heart disease and stroke were back up to pre-crisis levels.

Cuba’s experience serves to demonstrate that within a relatively short period moderate weight loss and an increase in physical activity can have profound health benefits on a whole population.

 At a local level if more of us walked or cycled regularly and ate healthily there would be wider benefits too. There’d be less pressure on the NHS and Social Services. Congestion and its associated air and noise pollution would be eased. Employees would take less sick leave and be more productive. School children would be more attentive and do better at school.

That’s why Push Bike! is lobbying the City and particularly the County Council with its Highways and Public Health responsibilities to do more in making it easier to leave the car at home and cycle (or walk) for more of the 65% of car journeys that are under 5 miles. We’d also like to encourage you to use your car less and start to enjoy the many benefits of riding a bike.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Travels across America

For all those who enjoy a enjoy a good cycle tour tale.........

Derek Skinner will be giving a digital presentation of his travels across America
last Spring, to the Worcester & Malvern CTC. at the Camp public house, Grimley
on Friday 6th. February 8pm. onwards. This will, I am sure, be an entertaining
evening of life across the Atlantic, covering a cycle route from the West to the
East Coast, via Texas and many other States.
 
Anyone wanting to arrive beforehand, will usually find food (and drink) available
at reasonable cost.
 
Subject to the Severn not being in flood, a great traditional pub on the riverside.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

New Year Resolutions



Its that time again when thoughts turn to making New Year’s resolutions.  Getting fit, losing weight, reducing stress, saving money, taking up a new hobby, being more punctual, reducing your carbon footprint and raising money for charity are all fairly common. Push Bike! would like to suggest a single resolution that means you’ll achieve all of the above and more.

I’m going to use the car less and cycle more in 2015.

Here’s a few tips to help you stick to it.

  • Get a decent bike. A usual rule of thumb is to buy one that has a list price of more than £300. If you don’t want to pay so much, then think about buying secondhand. It’s also worth checking if your employer is signed up to the Government’s Cycle to Work Scheme as this can save you up to 42%.
  • Get one that is suitable. There’s a vast range of different types. First decide the type of cycling you will be doing and then buy one that best suits your needs. One of the excellent local independent bike shops will be able to advise on what to buy and adjust it to make sure it fits you.
  • Make sure you have the appropriate kit. You’ll need warm, dry, breathable clothing. A helmet, strong lock, basic tool kit, decent lights and something to carry things in are other likely essentials.
  • Importantly try and set yourself manageable targets. Sign up for a charity ride. Join a local cycling club. Find friends of similar ability to cycle with. You’ll find a directory of Cycle Clubs on our Cycle Clubs page. We’ll be providing a regularly updated Cycling What’s On later in the New Year.
  • Select the best and safest routes. The County Council’s excellent Worcester cycling map will help you get around the City. There’s also a series of short, signed leisure rides to get you started.  These maps are often available at local bike shops but you’ll find links for downloading them and for other route finding websites on  our Links page. 
 From all at Push Bike! we wish you all a happier, healthier and wealthier 2015.

Fill that hole!

Potholes are an annoyance for drivers and can cause damage to vehicles. For cyclists they pose an even greater threat, that of injury and even death. Cyclists are also more likely to encounter potholes as the majority are on the edge of the carriageway and are more common on the smaller, quieter back roads we prefer to use. In Worcestershire these roads are only inspected annually whereas the main roads are inspected monthly. That’s why its important for cyclists to report any dangerous potholes so they can be fixed more quickly. There are now two options for doing this.

The County Council has a new on-line reporting tool on its website www.worcestershire.gov.uk. All you need to do is click through on the ‘Report’ and ‘Potholes’ buttons. There’s also a useful video to show you how to complete the form. Once reported major defects should be fixed within 1-24 hours and others between 7 and 28 days. Only holes over 200mm in diameter (the size of a dinner plate) and 40mm deep (the depth of a fist) will be filled. They will however fill linear cracks that a bike wheel could get caught in and clear away debris.




The Cyclists’ Touring Club, offers an i-phone and android ‘Fill That Hole’ App that makes it easier to report potholes in situ. The App is easy to use and automatically sends your report to the appropriate Highway Authority. This means it can be used for reporting potholes and road defects anywhere in the UK. Its also useful for motorists to have too. You can download your free App from www.fillthathole.org.uk
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